State Works to Get Long-Term Unemployed Back to Work
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Kristen Kessler spent the last decade of her career leading local nonprofits. She's been looking for a job now since March of last year.
"It's been 20 years since I've been on a job search," said Kessler. "This is is my job now - to get a job."
Like Kessler, John Gyle is looking. He spent more than 30 years working as a manager and salesman in the building materials industry. He was laid off and has been looking for work since 2010.
"It's a little depressing because I think I'm more than qualified but because of my gray hair I'm a little overlooked at this point."
Under a new Governor Cuomo initiative, the state will distribute $6 million in federal grants to companies that hire those who have been unemployed for a long time.
It's also deploying what it calls its Mobile Reemployment Response Team to areas around the state with the highest levels of unemployment. The unemployment rate in the Rochester region in August was 8.3 percent. That's the highest rate on record for the month of August.
Counselors brought together for the Rochester event have the latest job market information. They also help update resumes, give tips on how to interview and how to join social media sites to network.
"Job seekers have to open their eyes up to opportunities they may not have thought of initially," said Rochester Works Executive Director Peter Pecor. "They may think what they were doing before is exactly what they want to do again. Here's an opportunity to show there are openings, there are jobs available and they should really look at possibly switching careers."
Gyle is thinking about that. He came to change up his resume.
"Now I'm trying to get work in other industries," he explained. "It's not easy because I've done this particular job all my life and it's hard at my age to go in and start all over again, although I'm willing to."
Kessler is also walking away with some ideas on how to get the job she's looking for in nonprofit and business development.
"I really have to work at keeping positive all the time and that's hard, that's the most difficult thing- to keep positive."